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Geddy Lee calls mixing “the death of hope”, says Rush almost scrapped Tom Sawyer due to mixing issues

The bassist details his least favourite stage of making a record in a new interview.

Geddy Lee of Rush

Image: Mat Hayward / Getty Images

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Rush’s Geddy Lee has described the mixing stage of album-making as “the death of hope” due to the “very hard decisions” that have to be made.

Speaking with NPR’s World Café, the Rush bassist discusses the term “post-production blues” and the way it relates to the album-making process, saying [via Blabbermouth]: “Well, the [comparison] I make is when [director/actor] Woody Allen is talking, I think, in [the 1977 romantic comedy film] Annie Hall and he says, ‘Marriage is the death of hope.’ And I always took that expression and applied it to music where I always felt mixing is the death of hope.”

“Because when you’re making a record, it’s full of possibility – I mean, it really is a wondrous process; it’s like magic,” Lee explains. “And so when you come to the mixing part, which is the final, you have to review everything that’s on the tracks and make some very hard decisions about how they need to be placed.”

“And some of the things, maybe the nuances you’ve fallen in love with, maybe there’s no room for them anymore. And I find that a very painful process.”

The musician adds that at the end of the day, mixing is “a compromise between your dream and the reality of what actually ended up on the tracks.”

“And I find that very disheartening,” he says. “And so when we finish a record, I’m left with what we didn’t accomplish more than celebrating what we did accomplish. And I will get there. It takes me a bit. Some weeks later, when I’ve been away from it and I hear it fresh, I go, ‘Okay, that’s not bad.’”

Lee also reveals that Rush nearly scrapped one of their biggest hits, Tom Sawyer, due to mixing issues.

“There were all these technical problems because we were using one of the first computerised mixing consoles in North America at the time,” he says. “Nothing was working and, at one point, I thought, ‘Maybe we just forget this song and move on.’”

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